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Report: Lakers would consider drafting Joel Embiid if he falls to seven

Jun 20, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT

Joel Embiid Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid was projected by many to go as high as number one overall in the upcoming NBA Draft, but a foot injury he suffered which required surgery threw everything into a state of chaos.

Now, we have no idea where Embiid may be selected — his talent hasn’t diminished in the slightest, but he’s had too many injuries given his young age and low basketball mileage for there not to be significant red flags raised.

Embiid will likely fall on most teams’ draft boards; the question is, how far? If the latest report is to be believed, he won’t get past the Lakers at seven if the teams ahead of them decide that his injury history is too much of a risk.

From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

The Lakers would consider selecting Embiid should he become available, according to a person familiar with the Lakers’ thinking. But such an idea would hinge on Embiid’s recovery.

The Lakers are mindful there would be risk in selecting Embiid considering his recent back injury and his current foot fracture. But they are also aware of Embiid’s upside with various draft experts likening him to Hall of Famer center Hakeem Olajuwon. It is unclear what information in Embiid’s medical report and progress the Lakers would need to see that would make them feel comfortable picking Embiid assuming he stays undrafted before the seventh pick.

Despite what Kobe Bryant may think, the Lakers don’t need to make a splash with an NBA-ready draft pick this season. In that regard, Embiid would be a fine choice, even if he ends up pulling a Nerlens Noel and sits out the entire season.

The Lakers don’t even have a starting five under contract for next season, and it’s unlikely they’ll be able to piece together a playoff contender with the spare parts that are available on the open market. L.A. is targeting 2015 to make its move, when far more (and more impactful) free agents are likely to be available as realistic targets.

(And no, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James this summer are not realistic targets.)

Embiid’s talent is evident, but the injury concerns are real at the same time. The Lakers could afford to take the risk on him, given the money they’ll have to spend in free agency and the desirable market they play in that would make the signing of superstars potentially that much easier.

Other teams may not feel like the gamble is worth it, especially in what’s expected to be a very deep draft class. For those reasons, Embiid could fall to the Lakers, and it’s likely they’d select him if the opportunity presented itself.

  1. felser - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    Non-story. Of course any team drafting in that range has to consider Embiid.

    • muathjam21 - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      The Lakers will consider, obviously, but I doubt they pull the trigger. They’ll go for a guy that’s more ready to contribute right away.

  2. casualcommenter - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Taking Embiid at that point would be their best shot at finding a franchise player, since aside from the injury he’d be far and away the best player available at 7.
    However, he’s a guy whose best case scenario has him contributing in January of 2015. More likely, they let him take his time coming back to avoid his foot from becoming a lingering issue, so he’s out for most of the upcoming season.

    It’s a good move long-term, but it doesn’t help the Lakers much in 2014, and Kobe might not like that…

    • 1historian - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      “Kobe might not like that.”

      Very true.

      If your GM is afraid of making a move for fear of offending a 36-year-old soon to be has-been who hasn’t played in more than a year and is clearly past his peak – what does that say about the overall organization?

  3. campcouch - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Why not. It’s not like they’ll get a world beater in the draft anyways. Let him sit for a year, let Kobe get his legs back in 2014 then grab a free agent in 2015.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:40 PM

      Oh, a bit more from that article…

      L.A. “has holes up and down the roster and it’s severely lacking in the type of quality trade chips needed to swing a deal for a superstar. There are just too many issues to address to expect a drastically different result next season.”

      I’d love it if they take a guy that has to sit all year…

      Lakers only have 3 men on the team right now. Can’t even trot 5 men out for a starting lineup yet.

      No coach either. I think Dummy Buss actually believes that LBJ is going to come to the Lakers because they are the Lakers.

      Just like Gilbert believes that LBJ will come back and play for him after that letter he wrote about LBJ in 2010.

      What is it with these owners?

      I think we need to give those tests to determine whether they’re senile to ALL of them…

      • adoombray - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        Nail on the head right here.

        Doctor Buss was the Godfather, and instead of Michael or even Sonny, the Lakers got inherited by Fredo….

  4. j0esixpack - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:23 PM


  5. money2long - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    I was thinking this may be the case.

  6. phillipsta1 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Draft note, lakers are awful

  7. adoombray - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    On one hand, the Lakers have all but given up on next season already, but on the other, next year’s first goes to the Suns so that Steve Nash could make more money (when he could have taken less, but he insisted on the sign and trade a week after telling the press he would have a hard time ever playing for his arch rivals).

    Anyways, I still don’t think he makes it past 6 if the C’s keep that pick. Ainge is not a particularly good GM except for the part where he plucked KG from Minnesota. I have to figure he pulls that trigger so he can justify another season of losing (which, as a Boston resident who has to fake caring about the Red Sox, SIGH)

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:11 AM


      I keep trying to square what the Lakers are actually doing to what Kobe said a couple of months back.

      Here is what Kobe said…

      “This organization is just not going to go [down],” Bryant told Darren Rovell for SportsCenter’s “Sunday Conversation,” per ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin. “It’s not going to take a nose dive. But I think we need to accelerate it a little bit for selfish reasons, because I want to win and I want to win next season.”

      There are 3 Lakers on the team right now. A much older, coming off of injuries Kobe (still an all time great, will to win etc… but let’s face it, we all need to see him play as Father Time is undefeated and it reaches out for all of us at different times). Kobe has a lot of miles on him in the league, he’s older and coming off injuries.

      I hope he plays well, I really do. I’m NOT saying he can’t.

      ALL I’m saying is that we have to wait and see, watch him play his first 10 games or so to see if it’s the same old Kobe…

      Nash… I love him, one of my all time favorite players but it was painful watching him last season. For his sake and that of everyone else, I hope he resembles an NBA player this season, even a Darren Collison for Pete’s sake…

      Sacre…? Enough said already.

      The 7th pick in the draft? If it is Embiid, he’s NOT helping this coming season…

      I would be half kidding on this site when I wrote 27 & 55 on posts about the Lakers and that they only need 28 wins this year to IMPROVE…

      But… well… WHO is going to get them to 28 wins?

      I can’t name their starting 5, their first man off the bench…

      This could be ugly…

      • JHathwell - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:37 AM

        Not sure why you feel confident in making statements like these before you even see what they do to fill out the roster. I’d suggest you wait and see what they do in the summer.

      • adoombray - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:55 AM

        It feels like one of those video game seasons where you dump everyone and select “sim through season” and just count on the fact that you can always just increase the dollar amount on the free agency offer and you suddenly get every good player to flock to your team.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:03 AM

        Now, if Kobe were only making $12 million and not basically $24 million each of the next two years, then the Lakers would have ANOTHER $12 million to spend strengthening their roster…

        To fill it out with better players, have MORE depth.

        They’d go from having $26 million to spend on 11 guys to having $38 million to spend on 11 guys.

        I’m not sure about you, but I know that EVERY G.M. in the league could put together a stronger roster of 11 players while having $38 million to spend rather than $26 million to spend.

        The Lakers are in a tough spot and it’s going to be a difficult couple of seasons for them…

      • cruzan80 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:10 AM

        @ JHathwell

        Well said sir.

        It’s late June & he just wrote a novel about the Lakers CURRENT line up…smh.

        Just more pointless HATE disguised as objective opinions. This is the same guy who maturely calls Kobe “KoMe” and Melo “MeHog” because he HATES them so much.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        Cruzan: you dare disagree with Sportsfan? WTF? You want to be called stupid or something even worse?

        Sarcasm required!

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        Good job cruzan…

        You got MeHog

        And MeBrick

        So, here is a new one as you finally have those other two memorized…

        MeMiss because he misses so darn many shots…

        How about this Cruzan… The Rockets TEAM shooting percentage this past season was .472%

        MeMiss shot .452% this season.

        The Rockets average point per shot as a team was 1.34 points per shot this past season.

        MeMiss averaged 1.29 points per shot.

        We all NOW MeNoD won’t help them on defense but his shooting percentage will pull the team average DOWN.

        Oh, if folks use their brain, he’ll pull their average down more than just by his misses.

        Hows that dummies out there in the interweb ask?

        Both Dwight Howard and James Harden shoot very high rates. Howard had the 2nd highest point per shot average in the league this season.

        Harden was tied for the 3rd highest point per shot average this year with Durant and Lebron. Yep, those three all had the SAME point per shot average this past season.

        Now, MeMiss will come in and shoot around his career FG% and that will lower the teams average.

        Now, MeBrick won’t average 20 or 21 shots a game because Howard and Harden are still there.

        But, Dwight and Harden are GOOD shooters and if Melo “only” takes 16 shots a game, he will still be TAKING shots AWAY from Harden and Howard.

        WHY would any team want to take shots away from the 2nd and 3rd highest point per average shooters in the league and GIVE those shots to a man whose point per shot average is LESS than the team average?

        Aren’t they TRYING to win? WHY take shots from good shooters and give them to MeBrick?

        The Rockets team shooting percentage would go DOWN.

        Their points per game would go DOWN.

        And the fans and Dwight and Harden would get frustrated watching him brick so many shots all year…

    • TheMorningStar - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Please provide examples of how Ainge isn’t a ‘good’ GM.

      He is certainly better that that clown Kupcheck running thr Lakers.

      • mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        That’s like comparing two sh**-shovellers to see who does a better job of moving manure.

        IMO it’s also an apples-and-oranges comparison. Ainge is a bad chef, running a disorganized kitchen; Kupchak is more of an officious maitre d’, acting like he has power when he doesn’t.

      • TheMorningStar - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        Nice prose old sport, but you still didn’t provide examples.

        Back to the forrest …troll.

      • TheMorningStar - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Nice prose, but you still didn’t provide examples.

        Back to the forrest with you..troll.

  8. mogogo1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    I’m not sure Buss the Younger has the brains or the guts to make a pick like that. But it would be a smart risk and a good owner would certainly consider it.

  9. whitwarren - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:52 AM


  10. johnheisman - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    This a non story as Embiid will not get past the Celtics. The Celtics have two first rounders and also a great recent history of taking players that dropped in the draft due to injury – Jared Sullinger two years ago and Avery Bradley. The Celtics also have multiple picks 3 out of the next 4 years. The Lakers have no shot at pick #7 and the Celtics may also not have a shot at Embiid at #6 seeing as the 76ers, Magic and Jazz also have two first rounders.


  11. patfic5 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Sorry, Kobe. No more rings for you. Unless this guy hangs to 40, it’s done. Team is garbage. Of course, Heat bandwagon fans will need a new team to flock to, so perhaps the basketball gods will shine on LA.

  12. csbanter - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    Hey Andrew Bynum before he became lazy was a project chosen by L.A. that worked out well. A couple of championships, maybe deja vu w/o Bynum’s BS.

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